Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Cemetery picks up vandalized pieces




By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ST. BERNARD Two men accused of vandalizing a 128-year-old cemetery here were in jail Monday as workers began righting the gravestones and repairing damage.

        Police arrested Ryan J. Ennis, 22, of the 4000 block of Leonard Avenue, and Ryan A. Steiner, 19, of 5000 block of Greenlee Avenue. They are charged with vandalizing St. Mary Cemetery, 701 E. Ross St., at about 2 a.m. Saturday

        A police report indicated about 60 monuments were overturned, and preliminary damage was set at $50,000.

        Butch Abrams, caretaker, said Monday 90 percent of the monuments were back in place.

        He said he discovered the vandalism Saturday morning when he came to work.

        “Vandalism at this cemetery is pretty unusual,” Mr. Abrams said. “We have good public services here and the citizens consider this a community cemetery and usually they keep a good eye on what is going on.”

        The vandalism took place on the west side of the 110-acre cemetery.

        Mr. Abrams said the preliminary estimate of $50,000 in damages might be low. A monument repair company will look at the damaged stones today and try to get a correct assessment.

        “It may take several days because some of the headstones are marble,” Mr. Abrams said.

        Steve Bittner, president of the Cincinnati Catholic Cemetery Society, said the incident was deplorable.

        “It is sad enough when we have 13- and 14-year-olds doing this kind of thing, but when we have guys 19 and 22, it is terrible,” he said.

        The two suspects face court appearances next week.

       



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